HOW TO PARENT WITH A BULLYING PARENT
If your attempts to communicate with your ex are met with demeaning, belittling and abusive language you can refuse to communicate. Do not respond to any communication that is not respectful and on subject. This does not lead to effective co-parenting but it does lead to peace of mind.
Use a Parenting Coordinator:
Your local Family Court may appoint a parenting coordinator to act as a go between in high conflict situations. This is an expensive alternative but having a parenting coordination will get you closer to attaining a healthy relationship with both parents for your children.
Ask a Friend or Family Member to be The Go-Between:
If you can’t afford a parenting coordinator ask a friend or family member to step in and help. Is there someone that both you and your ex feel close to and can work with to smooth out issues such as visitation drop-offs and pickups? Someone who can field emails and help “mediate” any conflict that arises? If so, put them to use!
Communicate Only Through Email:
If face to face communication is an issue keep any needed communication to email. Keep in mind though that emails can be used in court as evidence. Don’t email anything to your ex if you are not comfortable with a judge also reading.
Seek Help From a Therapist:
Dealing with a co-parent who is controlling, irrational and abusive can, at times make you feel as if you are the crazy one. A trained professional can help you work through your own anger, handle those high levels of stress and guide you in how to respond to your ex. If your children are showing signs of negative emotions I suggest they enter therapy also.
Don’t Give Your Ex What He/She Wants:
Your ex is behaving irrationally and using controlling behaviors in order to send you a message, “I have no respect for you, you will not tell me what to do.” The ultimate goal of the angry ex is to get a reaction from you. He/she is pushing your buttons and when you respond angrily you are giving them what they want.
If he/she constantly brings the children hope late from visitation and you respond by stepping into him/her and sharing a “piece of your mind” you are not hurting your ex, you are hurting your children. AND you are allowing your ex to control you! Every time you meet his/her bad behavior with anger you are saying, “what you are doing is working, it is driving me crazy.” As a result, the cycle continues. You become more stressed out, your children become more upset and your ex gets to go home secure in the knowledge that he still has the ability to control you. Don’t give him/her the satisfaction